l-Menthol attenuates the magnitude of cold-induced vasodilation on the extremities of young females

Abstract

Abstract Background Menthol chemically triggers cold-sensitive receptors in the skin without conductive skin cooling. We investigated the effects of menthol-induced activation of cutaneous cold receptors on the cold-induced vasodilation (CIVD) of the finger. We hypothesized that the menthol application would attenuate typical CIVD responses. Methods 1.5% l-menthol was fully applied over the left hand and forearm, and then, the middle finger of the left hand was immersed into 4 °C water for 30 min. A trial consisted of 10-min rest followed by 30-min immersion and 20-min recovery in 28 °C air temperature with 20% relative humidity. Another trial without the menthol application was carried out as a control. Seventeen females (24.2 ± 2.6 years in age, 160.5 ± 5.1 cm in height, and 51.2 ± 5.7 kg in body weight) participated in the two trials. Results The results showed that the maximum and average temperatures of the finger during the water immersion were lower in the menthol application when compared to control (P < 0.05), whereas no significant differences appeared in the onset time of CIVD, the frequency of CIVD, and minimum finger temperature. These results imply that stronger stimulation of cold receptors without additional conductive skin cooling did not attenuate the triggering of CIVD responses but intensified vasoconstriction after the first occurrence of CIVD. Conclusion It is suggested that substantial and conductive heat loss through the skin along with activation of cold receptors may be required to retain rewarming at a certain level

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